2019 World Teachers’ Day: Leaving Long-Lasting Legacies, By Kayode Ojewale
The teaching profession is a precursor to other professions, and therefore it should be quality-driven – in order to attract young talents and keep them in the profession. Here in Nigeria, there is urgent need to address the pressing challenges of teachers. These, among many others, include poor learning facilities, the underfunding of education/the school system…
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), United States founding father.
The challenges facing an average Nigerian are enormous and teachers are not exempted from this harsh reality. Providing security for lives and properties, as well as ensuring the economic and social wellbeing of its citizens, is the primary obligation of a responsible government. However, the pursuit or struggle by teachers to provide for themselves what ought to be provided by the government gets them preoccupied. Teachers, old or young, encounter challenges that are peculiar to their career, and which can only be resolved by those in authority. But leadership failure, occasioned by the lack of political will to do what is needful, bedeviling the Nigerian state, has not allowed our leaders to tackle the challenges of their followers head-on.
On October 5 every year, Nigerian teachers unite with their counterparts across the globe to celebrate the World Teachers’ Day. This year, young teachers are taking the centre stage as they form the subjects of discussion, with the theme, “Young teachers: The future of the profession.” This year’s commemoration provides an avenue for teachers to be reminded of the fact that their profession does not only cater for the present but moreso for the future. The 2019 theme of the World Teachers Day underscores the need to ensure that the future of the profession is committed into capable hands, with fresh and young minds. The profession will become enticing and appealing to young ones only if they are assured that the future is guaranteed, despite what is currently obtainable.
For these young ones, who are the future of the teaching profession, to embrace the job with great enthusiasm and commitment, they should be equipped with knowledge in specialised areas and be well remunerated too. Some unpatriotic elements in our country today are hell-bent on causing setbacks in the education sector, as they work hands-in-gloves with corrupt officials to steal or misappropriate funds meant for education.
A good yardstick to evaluate teachers or feel their impacts is through the success of their students. When students succeed at what they do in school, their success is a function of the painstaking efforts and inputs of the teacher. Every good teacher was once a student. Growing to become a leader originates from the good tutelage received.
The teaching profession is a precursor to other professions, and therefore it should be quality-driven – in order to attract young talents and keep them in the profession. Here in Nigeria, there is urgent need to address the pressing challenges of teachers. These, among many others, include poor learning facilities, the underfunding of education/the school system, the dismal number of trained teachers and lack of commitment to work because of unattractive remuneration. One important way to secure education, which is a passport to the future, is that every stakeholder (government and parents) must ensure that the Nigerian teachers’ work-related needs are met in order to ensure topnotch delivery from them.
A good yardstick to evaluate teachers or feel their impacts is through the success of their students. When students succeed at what they do in school, their success is a function of the painstaking efforts and inputs of the teacher. Every good teacher was once a student. Growing to become a leader originates from the good tutelage received. One can only be said to be truly successful in a profession when he has trained a successor to take over upon his departure. To have become permanently successful in any career is to have made others successful too in that area. A wise man once said that the degree to which you make others happy is the same degree as your own happiness. While Karma still holds true in all we do, the teaching profession dictates the future for generations to come. How does this come to play? Karma states that: you reap what you sow – the doer gets the result of his action. Teaching, on the other hand, does not bring impact and result to the teacher, but rather it does to the future of the learners.
One of the ways that the late Benjamin Franklin became famous and unforgettable was through his investigations into and contributions to electricity. His impacts have left indelible footprints in the sand of time, even years after his departure. What about the Nigerian-born Canadian professor, Pius Adesanmi, who was regarded by a writer as the one who lives after leaving? How better could one have been described after one’s death with regards to leaving unforgettable imprints than the way late Adesanmi has been? Lives he impacted while he was still around lend credence to the continuity of his life after death here on earth. That’s what teachers live for – lasting impact!
Our worth and values in life will ultimately be measured by how much of our good deeds people remember when we are long gone. The impacts made by teachers in the lives of their students live after they are long gone, so they deserve the best while they are still around.
Statistics from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) reveal that Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, putting the figure at 13.2 million, with a greater percentage of this number coming from the northern part of the country. Policies that will make parents see the imperative of getting their children educated must be implemented. While poverty, insurgency and other forms of insecurity have been largely responsible for this staggering figure of children who are out of school in the north, especially, the absence of willpower by the government to address the problems of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Nigeria has made education suffer further decline and deterioration today. The 2004 UBE Act stipulates free education for children of primary and junior secondary school age. It may appear exaggerative and ridiculous to find out that some children may have been out-of-school on the grounds of their parents’ inability to afford basic expenses to sponsor their education. Hooliganism and thuggery have also held sway in some learning environments today and it is against this backdrop that some ill-informed parents never released their children to go to school.
A few days ago, the police uncovered an illegal Islamic rehabilitation school in Kaduna where many children were being tortured and dehumanised by the owner. Reports have it that some parents and guardians advertently took their children to that so-called rehab school for training and moral upbringing. Nigeria is left in a pitiful and sorry state if in this era and age some parents still take their children, who are not mentally ill, to a torture centre where they are chained hands and legs in the guise of being trained! Would it be said that those parents were brainwashed or they acted to the best of their knowledge on how to train a child?
Our worth and values in life will ultimately be measured by how much of our good deeds people remember when we are long gone. The impacts made by teachers in the lives of their students live after they are long gone, so they deserve the best while they are still around. Let me conclude with the words of the influential Greek statesman, Pericles, who submitted, many centuries ago that: “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Kayode Ojewale writes from Idimu, Lagos via email@example.com